June 22, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Cornwall ‘amps up’ on climate ambitions as funding announced for county’s first electric buses

Image shows a blue single-decker bus

Cornwall’s first electric buses will take to our streets next year, helping to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality. 

The Council has successfully bid for funding from the Department for Transport ZEBRA 2 fund to replace the entire Truro Park & Ride fleet with electric buses and provide a new electric bus for the Falmouth Town Service.  

A further six electric buses are set to be introduced in south-east Cornwall as part of a bid led by Plymouth City Council and Plymouth CityBus/Go Cornwall Bus in partnership with Cornwall Council. These buses will run on the 70/A/B routes around Torpoint and the Rame Peninsula. 

Richard Williams-Pears, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, said:

“As we continue to invest in giving residents choices for more sustainable ways to travel around Cornwall, our public transport system should reflect our commitment to reducing carbon emissions. 

“Our Transport for Cornwall fleet is already one of the youngest in the country with low-emission buses connecting communities throughout Cornwall. Working with our operators we want to continue to drive down our carbon emissions and this funding from the Department for Transport enables work to begin on the next phase, replacing diesel with electric.”   

The Department for Transport has awarded £1.3m towards the infrastructure and buses for the Truro Park & Ride and Falmouth town service with the Council committing a £1.95m. Bus operator OTS and Falmouth Town Council have also supported the bid to bring an electric bus to the town, committing £105,000 and £5,000 respectively to the project. 

Craig George, bus services manager at OTS, said;

“We are honoured to have been invited to take part in the significant ZEBRA 2 funding bid by Cornwall Council. Our services are at the heart of the community and it is most fitting that we will bring an electric bus to our service 60, which has stops in the very heart of Falmouth. This will be a tangible improvement for not just our passengers but also anyone who works, shops and holidays in our beautiful town. Whilst we have always invested in the lowest emission buses, we have long held the ambition of bringing a zero-emission bus to this route and thanks to our pioneering partnership with Cornwall Council and Falmouth Town Council we are able to be at the forefront of this drive towards an even cleaner future.” 

Kirstie Edwards, mayor of Falmouth, said: 

“We are absolutely delighted to have our first green bus for Falmouth, this is the sum of a lot of work behind the scenes by our partners, Cornwall Council and OTS, and we are very grateful to receive the Department of Transport funding to assist us making this dream become a reality.

“We all have to work together to tackle the climate challenges we collectively face, and this is one of the many things we are doing and engaged with as a Town Council to build our resilience and invest in our community.”   

Transport Secretary Mark Harper MP said:

“As part of our plan to improve local transport across the South West, we’re providing over £43 million to roll out 352 brand new zero-emission buses across the region.   

“This latest investment into our bus fleet comes on top of the £3.5 billion we have invested into our bus network since 2020, protecting and improving bus routes into 2025 as well as extending the £2 bus fare cap until the end of 2024, made possible by reallocated HS2 funding.”